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Monday March 27th

Tanner Glenn goes home to campaign

<p>(Courtesy of Tanner Glenn)&nbsp;Tanner Glenn with former President Bill Clinton. Glenn is acting as Rich Nixon’s campaign manager. Nixon is running for the 26th district seat in the N.C. House.</p>
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(Courtesy of Tanner Glenn) Tanner Glenn with former President Bill Clinton. Glenn is acting as Rich Nixon’s campaign manager. Nixon is running for the 26th district seat in the N.C. House.

Glenn, now a UNC sophomore, was one of Nixon’s AP U.S. History students at Corinth Holders High School. Nixon has since joined the race for the 26th district seat in the North Carolina House and made national headlines by bringing Glenn on his staff.

“I knew how deeply he cares for education and how deep his love was for the state, and that really motivated me to want to get involved,” Glenn said. “I know that someone who cares that much about our education system and our state would be a great force in Raleigh.”

Nixon, a Democrat, said even as a high school student, Glenn was very active in local politics and always intellectually curious.

“Once he became interested in something, he really kind of dug deeply into it — and once he set his sights on doing something, he vigorously would pursue his objectives,” Nixon said.

Glenn had continuing experience within the Democratic Party that Nixon was aware of, and he became intrigued when some local party officials mentioned Glenn would be a good fit for his campaign.

“They were saying the same thing over and over — he’ll do a great job for you,” Nixon said.

He said even those who didn’t know Glenn advised him that when campaigning at this level the need for energy could often outweigh experience, a characteristic that young campaign managers like Glenn bring.

But this isn’t Glenn’s first political experience; he has been a part of Hillary for America, the Young Democrats of North Carolina, International Youth Council and more.

Glenn also serves as co-founder and executive director of Splash UNC, an organization that aims to teach middle and high school students in a fun way. Glenn said he was inspired to found the program by his classroom experience with Nixon, who used the “flipped” classroom method.

Glenn said even though he is still figuring out how to balance his new role with his student responsibilities, he is fully dedicated to the campaign. He will take off the fall 2016 semester to live and work in Johnston County full time once the election revs up in May.

“I have had to attempt to master the art of time management, and I’m still figuring it out for this semester,” Glenn said.

Nixon said Glenn already helps by keeping him on top of all the tasks that need to be completed — a job Glenn can do easily based on his previous knowledge and connections in the political realm.

“He can point those things out to me and he can nag me until I get the things done that I need to do, which is a huge relief because I guess that was my biggest concern getting into this,” Nixon said. “I didn’t know the process, I didn’t know what I needed to do as a campaigner, and that’s what Tanner knows.”

Andrew Barnhill, a Democratic nominee for the N.C. Senate, said the idea of Glenn running Nixon’s campaign is exceptional. Glenn, he said, is able to read and interpret the attitudes of the community — a crucial skill in the political world.

“He is one of the most perceptive and politically savvy people I know of his age group, and that has led him to great success in his volunteer opportunities and internships with the parties so far,” Barnhill said.

He said Glenn saw a void in Johnston County that needed a strong Democratic candidate like Nixon to fill it, and acted upon his civic and personal obligations.

“If we, as Democrats, had more people recognizing that obligation, we would be winning in even some of the most gerrymandered districts in the state,” Barnhill said. “So I applaud Tanner’s efforts for doing that.”

First-year Gentry Fitch, a friend of Glenn’s, said the new campaign manager position made sense for someone who has worked so hard.

“I think in a broad sense, Tanner just wants to figure out kind of his niche in this world, and his niche seems to be in that politically motivated and active arena,” he said.

But Glenn isn’t just hard working, Fitch said — his personality could sometimes be summed up as goofy.

“If I’m not laughing with Tanner, we’re talking about like a current event or something, so it’s either really one or the other,” Fitch said.

Nixon said he’s told Glenn that they’re going to work hard, have fun and see what happens in November — but Glenn’s love for the job has, at times, caused Nixon to mute his phone late at night.

“I’ll get up every morning and see all these late night messages and texts from Tanner, and they all say, ‘oh, one more thing,’ and then, ‘oh, one more thing,’” Nixon said. “So, he keeps me hopping.”


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